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Academia lost a geography giant in Harm de Blij

Academia lost a geography giant in Harm de Blij

Harm J. de Blij was a giant in the geography community. He was a member of the American Association of Geographers and a geography consultant for National Geographic, National Council for Geographic Education, and ABC’s Good Morning America. He also showcased geoliteracy in his more than 40 years as a professor and author. He was a constant supporter of mainstream geographic education. Dr. de Blij passed away on March 25, 2014.

Dr. de Blij was born in the Netherlands in 1935 and grew up during World War II and post war Europe. His education began in Europe and continued in South Africa and the United States. He has been published in more than 100 magazines and articles and wrote more than 30 books. Two of the most known are Why Geography Matters and The Power of Place: Geography, Destiny, and Globalization's Rough Landscape. Many of his books and textbooks are used across the country in high school and college geography courses.

In addition to his numerous books and articles, The Geography Teacher magazine featured a periodic column called “Ask Dr. de Blij” which allowed people to write in questions and answers were published. Local geography students in Fredericksburg, Virginia, use one of these columns in their AP Human Geography class on geopolitics with Dr. de Blij’s description of state morphology.

The National Council for Geographic Education put out a statement. Former student Erin Fouberg said of Dr. de Blij, “Harm was a gifted storyteller who drew students into his lectures and taught us to make connections across time and space so we could appreciate the context of global and local change".